L.A.-based electronic group Droog has a goal. “We want to make downtown into a more regular home for cool music,” Andrei Osyka says.
Osyka met the other members of Droog — Justin Sloe and Brett Griffin — through clubs and a love of the same kind of music after they each separately made the move to L.A.. The guys started playing together because they all like a special blend of techno-infused house, something Osyka says tends to be quite deep.
When Droog came onto the scene in the mid-2000s, they catered to a new market. “Progressive house was ending, and a healthy underground house scene was developing,” says Osyka, “We were neither.” A unique crowd was coming out to Droog’s shows, and the guys noticed. Although they had residencies at both the Avalon and the Standard Hotel downtown — where they played a popular series of rooftop pool parties — Osyka, Sloe and Griffin saw the potential for something bigger.
The Droog guys started hosting one-off parties by early 2007. Their style and the artists they were bringing out to perform were fresh to the L.A. scene, and soon word was spreading, and their events were growing.
In 2009, they started the record label Culprit. “We wanted to create our own little world,” Osyka explained. The label's first release was impressive: an EP by Hot Natured, the collaboration of underground house and techno legend Jamie Jones and Chicago house producer Lee Foss.
At the beginning, Droog thought that 200 like-minded, music-obsessed patrons at a party was just right for Culprit. These days, that “just right” number has grown to over 500, with Culprit-hosted parties bringing in more and more new fans every time around.
“It’s our contribution to a scene that we love,” says Osyka. And Droog have certainly managed to make both their own tastes and other non-traditional scenes more vibrant in L.A.
The latest iteration of this is Culprit’s first series of regular nighttime parties, to be held at Lot 613 in Downtown L.A.
Lot 613 is a huge, cleaned-out warehouse, rented out for private and corporate events, filming, photo shoots, weddings, art shows, and other sporadic events. It's hosted electronic music events in the past, but not on a regular basis. With a capacity of 1,000, the multi-use venue offers a lot of possibilities for the dance music scene.
The guys of Droog realized this too, so Culprit helped organized several one-off parties at the space with producer friends like Lee Curtiss and Seth Troxler. Osyka recalls, “I remember thinking I could really get into doing parties here.” Culprit’s last party there was July 4th weekend, according to Osyka, but the label is set now to make a monthly home of the place.
“Culprit and a few other select promoters are doing regular events at Lot 613 this year,” Osyka says. He couldn’t reveal too much more about what’s happening at the venue yet, except that the concept behind the Culprit series is to get out of Hollywood and into downtown with some of the collective’s favorite artists in the world. This includes performances by Droog themselves, as well as many more friends and artists.
Culprit will be working with Prototype, a nightlife brand that recently popped up hosting parties at Lot 613. Prototype hosted its first party at the warehouse in early January, featuring German techno DJ Chris Liebing. Prototype describes the parties as “a series of unique events, bringing vanguard electronic music artists to Los Angeles’ Arts District.” It says it aims to deliver “novel label showcases and concepts,” joining forces with some of L.A.’s leading techno and house promoters, such as Culprit, to create a series of one-of-a-kind one-off parties.
The signs point to big things happening at the Arts District warehouse for dance music fans — especially the ones who are looking for something outside of the Hollywood club scene. With Culprit becoming a regular presence, it’s clear that Lot 613 has the potential to become a hub for downtown's underground electronic scene.
For the ever-growing, tight-knit community of people that search out these scenes, it’s more than just a party. These events are about the music — and, says Osyka, “It’s about having a refuge from everything else.”
Culprit’s first Lot 613 party features Cassy and Droog this Friday, Feb. 27. Tickets and more info available here.